Relief! Tuesday's premiere of Project Runway SA
revealed that no-one needs a smack for being an annoying reality TV sletty.
I was concerned the cast would be overly conscious of the fact that they're on "the first ever Project Runway in South Africa" and that they'd deliver slapworthy reali-actions (over-acted reality reactions)
but they didn't.
Of course there are those who are going to become a problem as they get more air-time - like David Tlale's intern Siphosihle (how many interns does he have??) - but overall the designers and judges were authentic and didn't try too hard.
I'm thinking it must have something to do with Rapid Blue co-producing the show because Shark Tank SA had a similarly sincere interpretation of the format and they produced it too.
I'm also very relieved that Lerato Kganyago actually judges on the show and doesn't just present. When she was first announced as host, Mzansi Magic's publicity department told me that she wouldn't be judging but thankfully she is because it would ruin the status dynamics between her and the designers if she didn't.
I'm also thankful she isn't speaking with a German lilt in an attempt to be Heidi Klum. Lerato held her own as herself, as did the judges.
Gert-Johan was a bit shy of his Tim Gunn role - aware that there's a Tim Gunn expectation on him while trying to be similar but not mimic him. This awareness didn't matter for two reasons:
1. Gert isn't a TV-pro and has never claimed to be so he comes across as real.
2. His critiques of the designers were honest and revealing - he shared more insight into the pros and cons of their designs than Tim ever does.
Ultimately the right "designer" got whacked at the end and Gert identified him from the start when he spotted the awful, Abba-esque shaved poodle that TK insulted us with.
TK's design was the worst thing on the show, along with the bland, casiotone music. It's the weakest part of the production, espesh when it was used in the background to build mood and drama - instead of enriching the action it felt like a mosquito hijacking my ear.
I also wasn't crazy about that fabric the designers were given to work with for their task - did you see how creased it looked? - in particular the white. It looked such a mess when they were working with it in the design room so I was amazed to see what they actually managed to pull off.
As for Kentse winning... I wasn't surprised - she's clearly a design nerd with her origami structuring. They always like that type of thing on design shows.
At the start of the episode I thought Gift would have a "gift" because he was the first one I got to know - the first designer whose name I remembered - but by the end of the episode it seemed he must be smoking too much Good Stuff behind-the-scenes to be bothered with hemming his seams.
After the show I found myself feeling inspired by the purr of their sewing - I've been dying to get to my sewing machine for ages and never have. Hopefully the show will kick-start me into action because I'll definitely be watching next week.
My rating for the show: 8 out of 10. It's lost two points for the music and TK's cringeworthy exit when he pushed that imaginary button to dim the lights at the end - you could see how fake it was. The show should have ensured he had a proper marker to press and that he pressed it properly.
Give it your rating here: Project Runway SA.